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The operation of a coal blast furnace for the production of iron began by loading it from the top (gutter or loader) in alternating layers of "… a wagon of coal, a wagon of iron ore and a wagon of flux… with additions of metal slag…". The whole of this burden fell regularly into the belly of the furnace and the combustion of the coke took place in the mouth of the jets; this reached a maximum temperature of 2,000º C, above which caused the reduction of the steel oxides and the steel was liquefied, it also got rid of its impurities due to the limestone flux and being the most dense was deposited at the bottom of the crucible. From there, once the casting hole was uncovered the melted steel came out through the grooves and onto the floor of the plaza. The impurities, the ash and the rest of the additional products being lighter in weight remained floating on top of the melted steel forming the slag or casting.

 

The characteristics of Iron Ore

Iron ore is abundant in these basins. It is scattered everywhere in carbonate form and also in that of hydroxide, which in some places forms rich and abundant mines. There is also iron sandstone in extraordinary abundance, and limestone as well, therefore these already contain the flux… (Industry and material interests magazine, 1847).

 

From coal to coke

Coke is a fuel obtained from the distillation of coal, heating it to very high temperatures in closed furnaces. It is therefore a product of the thermal decomposition of bituminous coal in the absence of air. When the coal is heated it releases gases and the coke carbon is what remains. It is a hard and porous material with a carbon composition of between 85 and 90%.ç

 

The characteristics of flux (limestone flux)

Limestone flux or basic flux made up of impure calcium carbonate and contains, at least, between 50 and 56% of calcium oxide. It is used in the obtaining of iron when the raw mineral to be melted is acidic, freeing it of its impurities during the final process.

 

>> THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PALENCIAN - LEONESE MINING SOCIETY

>> THE COKE BLAST FURNACE

>> TECHNOLOGY AND PRODUCTÍON

>> THE FURNACE PUDDLING PROCESS AND THE WROUGHT IRON OR SOFT IRON

 

 
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Mineral de Hierro

 
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Piedra Caliza

 
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Carbón de Cok